Friday, September 29, 2006

Morning Stroll in San Antonio

This Baby Blue Heron (I believe) was photographed sitting in a tree along the River Walk. It was a nice morning to be out on a walk, and (apparently) in a tree.

Thursday, September 28, 2006


No trip to San Antonio would be complete if I didn't visit the Alamo.

On Assignment - San Antonio

Buzz Daddy is attending a conference on kiosk marketing and sales. Exciting stuff, huh? However, he still managed to squeeze a little time to stroll the famous River Walk.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Boys and Equipment

Something about the way boys are wired... Mr. B Dawg was all agog at the forklift crane used to hoist shingles on our neighbor's house. It was quite impressive how they can maneuver those cumbersome pallets. Big excitement for Mr. B Dawg, for sure.

Monday, September 25, 2006

All in a weekend

FRIDAY: The Chalupa had a birthday party/soccer practice at 5:30 in St. Peter (20 miles away). The Belly Bean was dropped off at a friends house then went to her first Junior High dance (apparently there was waaay too much "Drama"). The Peanut showed up at home with four friends in tow to fundraise for the local PTO. Everyone got home and was in bed by 10:30 p.m.

SAT.- Sidetrack was up early with the Belly Bean to drive to "The Cities" for a softball tournament (see action photo above). Meanwhile Buzz Daddy and the Chalupa ran in a local 10K (6.2 mile) and 2 mile race respectively. The Chalupa finished her two mile jaunt in 20 minutes for a solid 10/min/mile pace. Buzz daddy clocked a 43 minute time for a 7:10/min/mile pace which is not bad on legs that suffered 51 miles two weeks prior.

After the race, Chalupa, Buzz Daddy, Big Dog, The Peanut and about 8 neighborhood kids teamed up to continue the deck deniolation/clean-up/reconstruction. The worst is over as you can see from the picture above. The Belly Bean returned home with Sidetrack late in the afternoon; The Peppers team won one and lost one which meant they continued again on Sunday (8:00 a.m. first game). The Peanut and Challupa went to church with some neighbors to help out in the nursery. It might be the closest they become to being Baptists; who knows? Anyway, they made it home with a few extra dollars in their pockets for their efforts.

SUNDAY: Buzz Daddy took off at 5:30 a.m. with The Chalupa and The Belly Bean for "The Cities". Belly Bean's first game was at 8:00. Meanwhile, back at the ranch Sidetrack, the Big Dog and the Peanut went to church and got haircuts. The Peppers won thier first game which meant they had a second game at 11:30. At the same time the Challupa had a soccer match in a neighboring suburb at 12:30. So shortly after the start of the Peppers game, Buzz Daddy drove the Challup to her soccer match. As it turned out, Belly Bean lost her second game which knocked them out of the tournament. She hitched a ride home with a neighbor friend, and went to her house to complete Math homework together. Buzz Daddy watched the Challupa's ICE soccer team win a tough game against Eden Praire (2 to 1). It was a very tough and close match. We then hauled back to arrive home just in time to see The Peanut's soccer team recover from a 4-0 deficit in the first half to a dramatic 5 -5 tie.

Aside from that, I'd say we had a pretty quiet weekend.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Fall morning

The first thin layer of frost covered lawns this morning as the Belly Bean caught her school bus at the end of our street.


The Chalupa and Belly Bean had their first White Castle experience last weekend. Four "Sliders" were quickly consumed by the Beaner, but here youngest sister only managed two of four with cheese. "They're ok, but not as good as regular burgers," said the Chalupa.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I discovered the "Sawsall". One of the greatest man-tools around. The deck as we know (knew) it, has about two more days. Then the clean-up. Then... reconstruction.


Thursday, September 14, 2006

Looking for the promise land

Nearly 300 years ago, a group of disenfranchised people set off for a new world in hopes of establishing lifestyles free from religious and governmental oppression. These pioneers arrived in America and established a democracy that, for all intents and purposes, held it’s own until the early 1900’s when World War I broke out.

It was at that time that our government began to intervene in world affairs. In fact, many scholars would make the case that America forsook its isolationistic ways at the behest of our Industrialist leaders who recognized the vast opportunity to expand our global economic, industrial and political influence. I might also add that by doing so America lined our own domestic pockets with economic growth and opportunity.

This trend seems to have continued and evolved through World War II, the Korean conflict, the Cold “War”, Vietnam, the Gulf “War” and now our “War” on Terror in Iraq.

Warfare has evolved from the old days of hand-to-hand combat to a new era of surgically accurate missiles, smart bombs, and unmanned drones. Likewise it seems the political and economic motivations that drive our nation’s decisions to engage in such activity have also evolved. Those industrialists and Big Business men who once influenced our politicians from behind closed doors are now the elected officials who control the purse strings of our tax dollars and establish policy that we most unwittingly have to follow.

To this end, I believe through the evolution of global conflict, something sinister has taken place… “We, the People” have lost control of our government. As a result, the American Government is beginning to look (and act) like the sort of tyrannical government our forefathers fled some 300 years ago.

Our privacy is being routinely and (arguably) illegally violated to ferret out terrorists. (So much for privacy. Huh?) But you know what IS private? Those secret CIA holding cells our government feels necessary to have for their private use of our public tax dollars.

Polls clearly indicate the popularity to extract our nation from the “war” and bring our troops home, but instead our elected officials continue to approve and allocate Billions and Billions of our tax dollars towards this “war” effort. This sounds a bit like taxation without representation, because, I suspect, if we were to put this funding to an American vote, it would NOT be passed. Instead, I ask (rhetorically), who writes these bills? Who votes on them? Who allocates the funding?

If that's not bad enough, I am repulsed by the latest push by the current administration forgo a reasonable level of civility. It is repugnant that some of our “Leaders” want a more narrow interpretation of the Geneva Convention which would enable the CIA, NSA, and our military to interrogate political and military prisoners in ways that might otherwise be deemed inhumane and torture. What gives us the right? If American's were political or militar prisoners, do you really believe we would stand by and let our capture reinterpret the Geneva Convention for their own agendas?

It makes me sad and embarrassed. And if I think about its many implications, it sickens me. I guess “kindler and gentler” is out, while evil and autocratic is in.

I suggest our government visit the days of yore and find a way change our ugly American image. We are ugly to other nations and we are twice as ugly when we take a hard look in the mirror.

Let’s become honest. While honesty may put some of our political and economic leaders out of business, it might serve as a fitting way of life for the majority of Americans.

Let’s look for ways to facilitate peace rather than ways to “make them pay”. As Gandhi once said (and I paraphrase) “If every one had to have an eye for an eye… the world would be blind.”
Let’s go back to the America that other nations and their citizens respected for our “wisdom” and generosity, rather than be economic, military and political extortionists for the sake of big business, big oil and good old fashioned cronyism.

While I do not advocate standing by idly during times of atrocity and human rights violations, I don’t think we have to be THE world police in all matters. Good leadership means building coalitions and working with others towards a common goal, not doing it our way, for our benefit irregardless of the consequences that may adversely affect others.

A good leader listens to the counsel of others. A good leader forthrightly admits mistakes. But regretfully, our current leader is the proverbial attourney who represents himself in a court of law... we keep telling him, but he won't listen; he has a fool for a lawyer. As for the rest of his administration of "yes men" and "yes women", someone better get a backbone and tell the king he has no clothes because winter is just around the corner and I'm afraid we'll all suffer the consequences for their ineptness.

Sometimes we simply have to admit we were wrong and work to amend our ways and atone for our mistakes. Somehow it seems easier for a child to do this than the grown adults who would be our elected officials.

I wonder what would happen if we reallocated some of our war driven resources into developing and facilitating the governing body of the United Nations? Is it a perfect organization… no. Could it be a better organization… yes. Will we (Americans) always agree with UN actions… no; but those actions might be far more fair, economically just and politically more correct than our current efforts and initiatives. Let’s help the UN build their resources to promote peace and a certain amount of stability, don’t you think?

Ok, maybe some of my ideas are way off base, (improving the UN would be a tough row to hoe) but at least I’m willing to admit we are failing with our current course of action. At least I am willing to entertain alternative solutions.

What we are doing today is NOT working. What we are doing today is not right. So, unless we are willing to take a hard look and change our broken system, we may need to pack our bags and look for a new promise land just as our forefathers did 300 years ago.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


By any other name this might be called distruction.

Out with the old and in with (maybe) a bit more yard, a smaller deck and/or patio, and some landscaping. Make no mistake however, tearing it out is just about as labor-intensive as installation.

Kick out of twighlight practice

As the sun sets on this crisp fall day, the Chalupa spent her twighlight hours honing her soccer skills and preparing for a weekend soccer tournament.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

ST 100 - Epiloge

So what can I say? Perhaps the best analogy I've come up with is this... I went up North to bag a bear and I only came back with deer. After 15 and a half hours of some of the most amazing trail in the United States, I pulled my own number at 51 miles. Of course there is an element of disappointment, but this is greatly overshadowed by sense of accomplishment and the terrific experience.

The bottom line; I was ill-prepared for the ruggedness of the course which was much more technically rough than I imagined. The roots and rocks would be tough enough on a generally level trail, but combined with the Superior Trail's steep and never-ending climbs and decents my leg-strength was short lived.

By mile 45 I was suffering from some dehydration despite drinking more than 40 oz of water every 2 hours or so. In addition to that, my appitite was failing so I was unable to take in the calories necessary to keep going and heat my body during an increasingly chilly night. By the time we reached the aid station at 51 miles, I was beginning to suffer from early signs of hypothermia with constant chills and shakes... I'm afraid the fleece sweats in my drop bag were too little too late.

So, after some deliberate soul searching I determined that I didn't want "it" enough to suffer for what promised to be 20+ more hours of shuffling, stubbed toes, agonizing climbs, excruciating decents and several other potential malady's.

I am satisfied with completing 51 miles, and thanks to Diane and Greg these were by far some of the most enjoyable 50 miles I've ever experienced. Last we saw Greg, he was held back at the 44 mile aide station for medical reasons. As for Diane, the youngest of the competitors, she was strong enough to continue the back half of the race... another 51 miles to the finish line. At the time of this post... the results of thier efforts remain unknown.

... [editor's note: two days later. Results have been posted and regretfully Diane and Greg also dropped]

Monday, September 04, 2006

18 years and counting

On Sept. 3, 2006, Buzz Daddy and Side Track celebrated their 18th wedding anniversary! As with anniversaries of all sorts, it is a time of reflection and resolution.

Here are a few of the emotions we've experienced this year:

Awe - that we've made it this far and have a wonderful family to show for it.

Remorse - that there have been times when we've hurt each others feelings and challenged our promise of unconditional freindship and love. Hey, we're human. We make mistakes. We hug, we forgive, we forget and we move on!

Joy - after 18 years, four states, four moves, countless sub-moves, many professional "adjustments", kids, pets, bumps, bruises et al.... we've survived so far! There is joy in MonkeyDoo afterall this adventure.

Optimism - that there will be many more years of adventure and FUN to come.

Hope - that we can improve our friendship, love and parenting (and grandparenting some day? - yikes!) as the next 18 years (and beyond) ensue.

Thankfulness - that we've had each other's comfort, company and support these many years past and for the many more years to come. We're also thankful for the friends and relatives that have shared in parts of this adventure with us.

Love - for each other, our family, and this crazy adventure.

Congrats and Horray! Here's to the next 18 years!